Wall Street hits new 2018 lows

Stocks on Wall Street notched a new low for the year Monday, as worries about the economy continued to dog investors before a crucial Federal Reserve decision on interest rates later this week. Since stocks reached a record high in September, the market has been buffeted by a range of concerns, from signs that the trade war between China and the United States is beginning to weigh on global growth to worries that higher interest rates will eat into corporate profits. Crude oil dove. Corporate bonds were lower. Stocks dropped almost across the board, with shares of tech, health care, and small companies as well as blue-chip corporations all lower. The sell-off came after another indication that the US economy, while still strong, is showing signs of slowing. The Empire State manufacturing index, a somewhat limited gauge of economic sentiment among manufacturers in New York state, tumbled sharply. A survey of US homebuilders also showed sentiment continuing to fall in an area of the economy where rising mortgage rates have hurt affordability and sales. President Trump sent a Twitter message Monday calling “incredible” the widespread expectation that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates when it concludes its monetary policy meeting Wednesday. Trump has repeatedly called on the Fed to stop a rate-increase cycle that started in December 2015. Fed interest rate increases are traditionally viewed as a negative for stock prices, and as evidence mounted in recent weeks that the global economy was starting to slow, investors have increasingly attuned to comments about the Fed’s plans.